For the past two seasons Miguel Cabrera has won the American League MVP while being the best player in either league. Coincidentally, Mike Trout has finished second in both seasons in the MVP race. The two have a very different style with oddly similar results. If you are lucky enough to have the first overall pick in your fantasy baseball draft, which one do you choose?
Pro Miguel Cabrera
In each of his 10 full seasons in Major League Baseball, Cabrera has hit 30 home runs and driven in over 100. His lowest batting average in any of these seasons was still a very respectable .292. Even more impressive, he has not struckout 100 times since 2009. Cabrera gets on base a lot and is sure to drive anyone home who already happens to be standing on first, second, or third.
For the most part he has also stayed healthy. The 2013 was the first season since he became a regular starter that he played in less than 150 games, finishing the season with 148 games played. Cabrera’s prolonged consistency is something you should not overlook when pairing him up against Trout.
Con Miguel Cabrera
Cabrera is slow, grounds into a lot of double plays, and starting the 2014 season at 30-years-old one can only assume his time to suffer an injury is right around the corner. This is of course an assumption, the only way to think of Cabrera negatively.
Cabrera will also not have Prince Fielder in the lineup in 2014 for some added protection. Of course, he never needed Fielder in the first place. There still could be a slight adjustment period and something to consider.
Pro Mike Trout
One of the few players who could bat leadoff or cleanup, Trout still has something to prove. Only two full seasons on his resume, Trout has improved in some categorizes and gone slightly down in others. However, the change up or down was not drastic.
With 30 more at-bats in 2013 than he had in 2012, Trout scored 20 fewer runs and hit 3 less home runs. A big catalyst for this might be his 110 walks he drew in 2013 compared to the 67 the season before. Trout’s speed is also a threat to add fantasy points to your lineup. He steals bases and he rarely hits into double plays which in some leagues is as beneficial as hitting as many home runs as Cabrera would.
Con Mike Trout
As mentioned, Trout’s numbers did not go up significantly with more at-bats in 2013. Fewer chances due to pitchers pitching around a lot more often, Trout should have still been able to improve in some categories.
The most significant drop came in the stolen base department. In his rookie season Trout stole 49 bases. A year later in 2013 he only stole 33 despite being on base a lot more and having an increased amount of opportunities. Trout also strikes out more often than Cabrera does, 139 and 136 times in each of his two seasons.
When making your final decision as to which to select, be sure to take a look through your league’s point system. If speed is a major plus then you may want to lean toward Trout. If home runs are what you are in more need of, Cabrera should be your guy. It’s hard to go wrong with either choice. The difficult decision will come in round two.